Extracts from the Liverpool Mercury and Dumfries Courier - June 1859














Loss of “The Lady Head”

(20 April 1859)


Further accounts which have reached us confirm the report of the loss of the ship “The Lady Head”, of which David Houston of Kirkcudbright was commander, near the mouth of the river Kromme, in the neighbourhood of Good Kloope, Cape Town, on the 20th April, and of all hands, with the exception of three seaman.


“The Lady Head”, 850 tons burthen and homeward bound to Liverpool was laden with rice, and left Rangoon on the 24th February her crew numbering 26 – Mr Houston also having his wife and child on board with him. On the 18th April they sighted land, when they stood off, and soon lost sight of it. The next day it blew a heavy gale, with hazy thick weather, which continued the following day, when about four a.m. the captain discovered he was fast driving on to a lee shore.


All hands were called to wear ship, but she refused, and about five o’clock the ship struck the rocks and immediately became a total wreck. The captain was seen on the poop, endeavouring to save his wife and child, when the ship broke up, and they were drowned. The rest of the  crew shared a similar fate with the exception of three, named, Charles Parrett, Henry Gray and one other, who succeeded in reaching the rocks in safety, although they were much bruised and injured.


The only bodies found were the captain’s wife and child, which were interred in the sands, the resident magistrate reading the service. The young lady referred to in the above melancholy narrative was Ellen, youngest daughter of the late Mrs Jane Kissock, of the Commercial Hotel, Kirkcudbright.


It was also noted that the ship and cargo were only partially insured.